Ex-US Army Ranger Who Challenged Hezbollah in Paintball Match to Become Asst Defense Secretary, Says WSJ Reporter
A former U.S. Army Ranger who compared Hezbollah’s fighters to American troops is set to become a defense official on Middle East policy, tweeted Wall Street Journal correspondent Dion Nissenbaum.
Former Ranger Andrew Exum is poised to become deputy assistant secretary for defense, said the tweet, which Nissenbaum posted on Monday.
Exum currently blogs at the Washington DC-based think tank Center for New American Security under the pseudonym Abu Muqawma, or Father of the Resistance, which is a common name used by Hezbollah to describe the armed struggle against Israel.
In 2012, Exum joined a group of three journalists headed by Vice Magazine’s Mitchell Prothero to match a group of Hezbollah fighters in a series of paintball games, supposedly to better understand the group.
According to Vice, Exum retired from the military after three tours in Afghanistan, and has since advised the U.S. military on Afghani affairs.
“The main thrust of Exum’s strategy is to separate insurgents from the broader population,” wrote Prothero.
Later, Exum argued that the paintball match with the Hezbollah fighters was intended to help frustrated journalists in Lebanon better understand the group, which is a designated terrorist organization by the U.S. and Israel, unofficially.
He said that “at the human level,” the Hezbollah men he met were “just very similar to the 18- and 19-year old Americans that [he] led to combat,” according to NPR.